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A Reader of Fictions: Love Letter to Japan - The Bird & the Bee (Tokyo Heist DAC ARC Tour)

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Friday, June 15, 2012

Love Letter to Japan - The Bird & the Bee (Tokyo Heist DAC ARC Tour)

Tokyo Heist

Author: Diana Renn
Pages: 364
Publisher: Viking
Source: DAC ARC Tours

Description from Goodreads:
Sixteen-year-old Violet loves reading manga and wearing scarves made from kimono fabric, so she’s thrilled that her father’s new painting commission means a summer trip to Japan. But what starts as an exotic vacation quickly turns into a dangerous treasure hunt.

Her father’s newest clients, the Yamada family, are the victims of a high-profile art robbery: van Gogh sketches have been stolen from their home, and, until they can produce the corresponding painting, everyone's lives are in danger -- including Violet's and her father's.

Violet’s search for the missing van Gogh takes her from the Seattle Art Museum, to the yakuza-infested streets of Tokyo, to a secluded inn in Kyoto. As the mystery thickens, Violet’s not sure whom she can trust. But she knows one thing: she has to solve the mystery -- before it’s too late.


First Sentence: "The wind, the rain, my soaked Converse sneakers: I blame it all on my dad."

Review:
Tokyo Heist is my first and last experience with DAC ARC tours. I signed up a couple of months ago, I think, and have since withdrawn from the Debut Author Challenge (though I continue to do my own non-age-specific debut challenge). Since that is a requirement for the tours, I am not going to be joining any more of them. However, I have NOTHING against DAC ARC Tours. They have been very professional and nice, even though this experience was more drama-filled than some, since the first ARC disappeared somewhere along the way. So thank you to DAC ARC Tours and to Penguin for making it possible for me to read this ARC.

Tokyo Heist would make an excellent read for younger readers looking to transition to YA or for middle graders. The content, writing, and characters definitely would fit with that age group well. Violet definitely felt like a young 16 to me. There were definitely times where she would be trying to figure something out and I would be headdesking at how obvious this particular part of the mystery was. This was not the case with every single clue by any means, but did happen more than once. I also couldn't believe that the FBI was impressed by some of her suggestions, since most of them seemed pretty obvious; maybe they were just being nice.

Of course, Violet does do some serious sleuthing too, along with the Scooby Doo variety. Where Violet and Tokyo Heist really shine are in the sections focusing on artwork. As the mystery progressed into more art-based research and sleuthing, the pace definitely picked up and I was less able to point out the obvious solution.

It's also great that you can totally tell how passionate Violet is about art, both other people's and her own. In fact, the artistic descriptions were so vivid that I occasionally sort of felt like I was reading a manga rather than a novel. This would have made a stellar manga or graphic novel, btws. It would have been like Inception, when it got into the Kimono Girl scenes!

Part of what made Violet seem so young was her manga obsession, which was also something I enjoyed, being a lover of manga as well. However, Violet takes it a little too far, as a young teen might do. Whenever she's stuck in her mystery-solving, she asks herself "WWVSD?" (What would Vampire Sleuths do?), because that is her favorite manga. She also tries to figure out how to handle her crush on her best friend by looking to manga for advice. Friends, I adore manga, but DO NOT DO THIS. No wonder she's having so much difficulty with her romance, poor dear.

Tokyo Heist is a fun read full of Asian culture (ftw!). If you're looking for something light with an entertaining mystery and some diversity, Renn's book is definitely worth picking up.

Rating: 3/5

Favorite Quote: "Edge is not movie-star cute. Maybe the space between his front teeth and his slightly chubby waistline have kept him from being a total girl magnet. But those are two things I happen to love about him. And the way his hair falls into his eyes. Oh, and his clothes. Today he wears a crisp white button-down shirt with the sleeves rolled up to his elbows. A 1940s waistcoat, brown twill pants, and spectator shoes."

"From the west to the east I have flown to be near you
I have come all this way to be close, to be here with you
And now, all my heart I will lay down precisely at your feet


My beloved, oh my sweet
All the gifts you have given me
The patience and the peace,
Cherry blossoms and the candy,
I am yours, I am yours
For as long, for as long as you will have me"

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4 Comments:

Blogger kimbacaffeinate said...

This sounds cute. when I was in middle school i gobbled this type of novel up. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and I am glad you finally got to read it.

June 15, 2012 at 11:29 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Awww, I was reading romance novels and classics in middle school. I'm pretty sure my reading has progressed oddly. Haha!

June 15, 2012 at 11:32 PM  
Blogger Kara_Malinczak said...

Oooh. Present tense? Not usually a fan. I'll try it though because I really wanted to read this one. Great review, Christina.

June 16, 2012 at 2:02 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Awww, I don't care how an author tells a story so long as it grabs me, which is mostly up to the characters. This one is cute and fun, but, I think, better marketed to younger readers.

June 17, 2012 at 12:54 AM  

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